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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

The History and Future of Artificial Light Seminar - Demonstration of Historic Lighting

3rd December 2013, 17:30 to 18:30, Normal Chapel, Durham Castle, Maureen Dillon

From the first use of animal fats for illumination purposes to the large-scale lighting systems of global cities in the twenty-first century, artificial light has had profound effects on human experience, and continues to open a wide range of cultural and economic possibilities while also increasingly determining human behaviour. This seminar series will trace the development of artificial light from medieval times, through the advent of electric lighting, to questions surrounding the future of energy supply and its implications for uses of light which are often taken for granted, and on which advanced economies have come to depend. The series will explore the technical and social aspects of blackouts, the absence of light, which is the iconic concept in the field of (electrical) energy security, and which also formed a major part of social conditions in the great wars of the 20th-Century.

Maureen Dillon has given demonstrations of historic lighting technologies (from rush lights to oil lamps) in numerous historic venues. If you would like to discuss individually with Maureen on the morning of 4 December please email to arrange this.

To register for the talk, please email - registration is not necessary, but is recommended as due to the small venue we can only guarantee a place for those who do register. If you would like to join Maureen at a "drinks and nibbles" reception from 16:45 on the Norman Gallery, please include this in your email, along with any special dietary requirements.

This event forms part of the Institute of Advanced Study's "History and Future of Artificial Light" series.

Contact for more information about this event.